Czechs turn to non-alcoholic beer after govt clamps down

Czech consumption of non-alcoholic beer has surged since stricter rules for drivers were introduced at the start of July, Czech daily Lidove Noviny reported on Tuesday.

“Just in July and August we saw sales of non-alcoholic beer in grocery stores rise by 81%,” manager of the Staropramen brewery, Martin Novak, told the paper.

The new law, penalising drivers with points for every drink-driving infringement and a driving ban if they exceed the limit, is the main factor behind the rise, Novak said.

Sales of market leader, Radegast Birrell, have risen by a quarter this year, the paper added.

In any case, “Czechs are trying to live healthier lives”, the manager of the Czech breweries association, Jan Vesely, added.

Average annual per capita beer of over 160 litres puts Czech among the biggest beer drinkers in the world.

But Vesely predicted that expected consumption on non-alcoholic beer this year of around 240 000 hectolitres could triple within three years.

Staropramen is owned by Belgian-based multinational INBev; Radegast is part of SABMiller’s international beer empire.—AFP

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